Are you wondering what the proper chicken temperature for juicy and fully cooked chicken is? Believe it or not, it’s not so black and white. In general, for juicy, properly cooked chicken, you want a chicken internal temp of 165 degrees F for white meat and 175 degrees F for dark meat.
Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Figuring Out The Right Chicken Done Temp
- What Oven Temperature Do You Use For Baking Chicken?
- What Should The Internal Temperature Of Chicken Be?
- What Should A Chicken Breast Temperature Be?
- What Should A Chicken Thigh Temperature Be?
- How TO Use A Meat Thermometer
- Tips For Pan Searing Chicken
- Sous Vide CHicken Breasts
Figuring Out The Right Chicken Done Temp
To get the proper cooked chicken temp, you will first need a meat thermometer. This will give you the most accurate reading possible.
There are 3 temperatures to keep in mind when cooking chicken:
What Should The Internal Temperature Of Chicken Be?
The USDA recommends that chicken and poultry be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Some people recommend that you pull a chicken out of the oven at 162 degrees F, because the chicken will retain heat and continue to rise in temperature to reach the necessary 165 F without overcooking and drying out the meat. Read more about this concept HERE.
My PERSONAL opinion on chicken is – don’t risk it. Pull it out when the meat thermometer says the chicken is 165 degrees F at it’s thickest part for at least 30 seconds.
What Should A Chicken Breast Temperature Be?
In order to destroy any bacteria or contagions in poultry, chicken breasts are recommended to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
To get a proper reading, stick the meat thermometer prong into the side of the chicken breast and push it in until the tip of the prong is all the way in the middle of the breast.
What Should A Chicken Thigh Temperature Be?
Chicken thigh temp is a little different because we are dealing with dark meat. Due to high amounts of connective tissue in comparison to white meat, dark meat tends to cook better – and is less stringy or chewy – when cooked to an internal temperature of 175 or 180 degrees F.
The collagen has an easier time melting at a higher internal temperature, turning to gelatinous and contributing to the rich flavor.
So when it comes to thighs or legs, 175-180 degrees F is perfect.
How TO Use A Meat Thermometer
A food thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure food safety and to determine the desired donenss of meat.
To make it as simple as possible, you want to push the probe through the center of the thickest part of the piece of chicken that you are checking. Try to avoid bones, tendons and fat.
Depending on what kind of thermometer you use, you will want to read the instructions on that specific type and leave the thermometer in the meat for the recommended amount of time to allow the temperature to register.
Tips For Pan Searing Chicken
The number one rule for pan searing chicken is to make sure the pan is hot enough. Not waiting until your pan is hot enough will result in a lack of crust and flavor development.
So how do you know when your skillet is preheated properly?
When oil is poured into a cold pan and heated up for a few minutes, it give off wisps of smoke. This smoke is the visual cue that the skillet is sufficiently heated and ready for your chicken!
A properly heated pan will reduce the chance that the chicken will stick. To further reduce this, make sure the chicken is patted dry before adding it to the skillet. Pat it dry prior to adding any spices or coating.
When you use a cast iron or stainless steel skillet, small bits and pieces of chicken will remain on the pan. These little bits account for a LOT of flavor, especially if you are making a pan sauce with your chicken!
This is going to be difficult, but try not to poke and prod the chicken once it is in the pan. If you can’t easily flip the chicken with tongs or a spatula, it is not ready for flipping.
Techniques That Ensure The Perfectly Cooked Chicken
There are two techniques specifically that I want to touch on here. The both seem really fancy, but are actually very simple to do. And they will ensure perfectly cooked, juicy and tender meat every time.
Considering how easy it actually is to do, spatchcocking has a lot of benefits!
I have a full blog with step by step instructions on how to spatchcock a chicken if you want to check it out! Skillet Roasted Pomegranate Spatchcock Chicken
Sous Vide CHicken Breasts
Sous vide is a cooking method where chicken breasts are placed in a plastic pouch or glass jar and cooked in a water bath at a low temperature for a long time.
The temperature is precisely regulated by a monitor. No matter how long you leave it in the water bath, the chicken will never get any hotter than whatever temperature you set it to (typically 165 degrees F).
There is a great post on sous vide cooking by Serious Eats called ‘Sous Vide Cooking: How To Get Started‘
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Feel free to check out some of my most recent posts here, and make sure to give me a follow on Instagram to keep up with all of my Mediterranean recipes!